Thursday, December 15, 2011
TRAVEL Book CLub Review: The Good Guide
Book ReviewThe Good Guide: A Sourcebook for Interpreters, Docents, and Tour Guides
Published by family-owned Ironwood Press in 1985 and written by the credible and experienced authors Alison L. Grinder and E. Sue McCoy, this is a sourcebook for interpreters, volunteers, and staff tour guides as well as educators and professionals working specifically in a museum. They use the term museum to represent many facilities that use tour guides such as the typical science, art, and history museums but also zoos, parks, planetariums, historic and cultural sites, gardens, and more. Museums typically offer several ways for the visitor to be educated including written materials, audiovisual programs, interactive exhibits, and classes. Probably the most rewarding with the best educational outcome, however, is a guided tour.
Consisting of 8 in-depth chapters, this book is essentially a tool that can be used to train and enhance a tour and/or a tour guide by introducing new, specific techniques, strategies, and recommendations that help you build on your previous experiences and skills in order to provide the best possible outcome with your tour group. It teaches you what to expect in situations, how to react to other situations, and probably their most important focus of learning strategies. The goal Grinder and McCoy focus on is to not abandon previous methods of learning but to enhance it and stimulate people to learn even more well after the tour has ended. With information and advice available mainly to professional museum educators, this easy, insightful read is divided into two major sections and puts the authors’ extensive knowledge out in the open which had not been done before.
They cover a wide range of relevant topics including giving tours to different age groups such as how children differ from adults especially regarding how they learn, cooperating with the different types of travelers, ways to prepare for them including people who are restless or do not have any interest, how to professionally and effectively handle specific types of situations, and much more. Other things covered are how to continue being a better guide including strategies on keeping your tours fresh and exciting such as using different commentaries or forms and using variety with each of your tours because according to the authors, change is a good thing. Overall, this book uses several details about strategies and goals of being an effective tour guide.
With the help of this book, you learn an extensive amount of new knowledge about teaching knowledge to others on a tour ranging from the beginning stages of preparation to nearing the end of the experience during delivery. Grinder and McCoy use specific and insightful examples from their experience in this industry to help get their points across which makes this book considerably relatable and potentially effective even though it is over 25 years old. “When tour guides link good teaching and communication skills with the ability to provide interesting and meaningful information, tours will become effective learning experiences.”